A Peculiar Thought Process

From time to time people comment about how I seem to be analytical… kind of a “thinker” if you will. And recently, an acquaintance said I have a “peculiar” thought process. I considered this a compliment because I strive to remain objective, and open to new perspectives and information.

 Before moving on, I’ll suggest that being open to new perspectives and information, is not the same as being open-minded. I’m careful about this distinction because the term “open-minded” is often synonymous with the term “tolerant”. And one of the last things I care to be called is “tolerant”. As I said, I strive to remain objective and open to new perspectives and information… but I do so for the purpose of challenging what I think I know. My goal is to end up with a more accurate understanding of truths that I can share with others.

 Now I’m not sure how you feel about the term or characteristic of being “open-minded”… so I’ll apologize in advance if I offend. It’s just that in my experience, the “open-minded” (aka; tolerant) person is less concerned with truth. They tend to want everyone to just “live and let live”… and put little emphasis on sharing thoughts and beliefs.

 Ultimately, I think the way I do for many reasons, but the most important of which is because I feel scripture sets this example. When Jesus spoke in parables, he did so in order to make the message relevant to the people he was talking to. I would not describe Jesus as open-minded or tolerant (John 2:13-17)… but I would describe him as open to teaching from a new perspective (Matthew 13:1-30).

 I like to think Jesus did this so that people could gain a more accurate understanding of truth… so we can share it with others.

 For those that agree, as well as those that have a different perspective on this blog… feel free to leave a comment below.

 Kind Regards,

Ted

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3 thoughts on “A Peculiar Thought Process

  1. Oh Ted, you made me think with this one! I have been re-evaluating my own ideas about what it means to be open minded, and also what it means to be tolerant. Tolerance could be said to be allowing others to disagree and go their own way, yet maintaining the strength of my own convictions. For example, I do not have to change what I accept to be basic truth in order to accept that someone else believes in a different way or perhaps even a different deity. That, to me, is being tolerant.

    Sharing what one believes is not what I think constitutes intolerance unless one is trying to force another to see things their way. Jesus never shoved His way into anyone’s life, as love {which is God} never insists on its own way. {1 Cor. 13} If one is talking about accepting every way of the world as being equally valid and true as a definition of tolerance, then I would say no, Jesus was not tolerant and neither am I because I choose Him.

    Being open to different perspectives and information is the definition of being open-minded in my book. Unfortunately, society has changed to the point where people often think openmindedness means setting one’s own convictions aside as well, a sort of “zen” type of wisdom in which one “goes with the flow”, accepting whatever comes down the pike as being true for that moment in time and subject to change without notice. I cannot believe that a loving God would leave His people at sea in that way. Basic truth is immutable. And I agree that the purpose of Jesus’ parables was to clarify that truth to His followers.

    1. Thanks for the comment Denise. It’s definitely a slippery slope when using the terms “open-minded” and “tolerant” synonymously… as presented in most Thesauri. I personally feel they are different enough in meaning that they should not be synonyms, but what I am going to do? I mean, I know it’s true that someone could be both or neither. But isn’t it also true that someone could be one and not the other? I think so… so how can we say the terms have equivalent meaning? (Sorry – this is just how I think sometimes… hence the impetus of the blog.)
      Glad to hear I made you think with this one…. You certainly returned the favor.

  2. I agree. Basically, open-minded pretty much leaves the mind out of it. You just accept and go with anything that is fed to you without question or concern.It’s actually against truth in that it tries to make every value abstract and changeable. However, truth is concrete and cannot be changed no matter how open your mind is. It takes the responsibility of discernment out of the whole process and you just end up going with whatever the popular trend in thinking is. I’m all about learning new things in a new way, but I have my borders to keep me in the frame of truth.

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